(Today’s post is part of a series on losing emotional weight: the weight of clutter, of public speaking, and financial stress. To read last week’s post on losing the weight of clutter, click here. To read how to lose the weight of financial stress, click here.)
Shedding the Emotional Weight of Public Speaking
A big presentation is looming. As each day goes by and the scheduled speech date draws nearer, dread bubbles up to the surface and overwhelms you.
How do you feel about public speaking?
Anxious? (Thoughts of certain failure running through your head?)
Mother-lovin’ terrified? (Moist, clammy hands, knocking knees, quivering voice?)
Energized and terrific? (Awesome! You’ve already lost all that negative emotional energy that whirls around presentations.)
Presentations cause the vast majority of us a lot of anxiety and fear. Knowing you have to make a speech, sales pitch, or even speak up in the meeting feels like the weight of the world is crashing down on your shoulders.
Presentation stress can make you feel like a mess, but it doesn’t have to. While nerves are perfectly normal, it should not drag down your presentation.
Follow these 3 tips to lose the emotional weight around a speech.
1. Prepare early.
If public speaking drums up unpleasant emotions for you, the tendency is to procrastinate. I’ll work on that presentation as soon as I finish paying the bills, go to the grocery story, deep clean the toilet… There are a billion distractions to stop you from working on your presentation.
The best way to lessen the emotional weight of a presentation is to start preparing early. The more work you put into a speech upfront, the more confident in your message you will feel. The more confident you feel, the less fear and adrenaline will course through your body.
Stop procrastinating and start preparing today!
2. Fear does not equate to failure.
Human beings are biologically programmed to be fearful of presentations. Standing in a wide-open space with tens (or even hundreds) of audience members snarling their teeth at you is guaranteed to send adrenaline coursing through your body.
Public speaking is destined to jumpstart your fight or flight instinct. This is normal.
The mistake many speakers make is to equate this fear, this adrenaline, with impending doom.
Reframe your thinking around your emotional response to presenting.
Adrenaline means you care. You want to do well and serve the people who are listening to your message.
Think of fear as excitement. Anticipation for your message hitting the ears of those who need it.
3. Public speaking is not about you!
Want to lose the emotional weight around public speaking in a jiffy?
Realize that public speaking is NOT about you. All of this wasted energy on your “ums”, shaking hands, your gestures not being big enough (or small enough) is misplaced.
The only thing an audience member cares about during your presentation is herself. She’s investing her time into your talk, and wants to get valuable information that is going to transform her.
Not only that – your audience wants you to succeed. Have you ever seen a presenter flounder on stage? It feels awkward to watch. You want to help them, but you don’t know how. Understand that the vast majority of the audience wouldn’t want to be the person in the front of the room, so they want to see you do well.
It’s time to lose all the emotional weight around public speaking. It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious and terrified before a big presentation. If you prepare early, you’ll feel confident and unstoppable on stage. Realize that fear does not mean you’re going to fail your audience and yourself. Finally, public speaking is not about you, it’s about serving the people listening to your message.
Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. You’re going to rock your presentation. I believe in you.
Dr. Michelle Mazur is the founder of Communication Rebel, where she delivers audacious breakthroughs to entrepreneurs, speakers, authors, and thought leaders who not only want to be the best in their industry but be positioned in a category of one. You can grab her free e-book here: Communication Rebel – Attract More Speaking Gigs by Harnessing the Power of Your Unfair Speaking Advantage.